Robin Williams died today; news reports are indicating that it was a suicide. Robin was one of our clients when I worked at A Bicycle Odyssey in Sausalito from 1994-2001.

While he was often “on” when other customers were around, the time he spent at the shop after closing were some of the most enjoyable conversations about bicycles I’ve ever had. Robin had a genuine love of all things bike.

I’ll never forget the teasing I got from him when he found out I was moving to Utah; my own personal Robin Williams riff …

While I don’t always talk about it (at least not out loud), I have battled depression for most of my life, and I’ve made no secret that the past few months have been pretty rough. Chase’s death this past spring, even though it was accidental, triggered a lot of of the old anxieties and fears and sadness that have plagued me for years. While I’ve certainly haven’t been suicidal in recent months or years (in fact, not since I quit consuming less-than-legal substances in 1991), it has definitely been the worst summer I’ve had since my breakdown in 2006 when my ex-wife and I were going through our split.

A lot of people trivialize depression, but it is a real medical issue with serious effects on people who suffer from it. It’s not something that you can just snap out of; it’s not something that will necessarily pass with time. In fact, those of us with dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder) are often taken less seriously than people with a major depressive disorder, because while our symptoms are not as severe, they are more constant. Contrary to what many of my friends believe, depressive episodes can’t always be solved by going for a bike ride. They can be crippling. They can render you essentially incapable of doing those things which normally you most love.

So requiescat in pace, Robin. I hope you’ve found the peace you need … the peace you couldn’t find in life; but rest assured that you will be sorely missed, not just for your comedy, but for the things we had in common as well.